Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Mermaid Baby Names Nursery Ideas

Mermaid Baby Names
Nursery Ideas

The Little Mermaid Poster
Girls' Names:
Fairie Tale Theater sister of Pearl 1987
Annette Kellerman, swimmer/actress portrayed by Esther Williams in Million Dollar Mermaid 1952
Aquamarine 2001
Ariel princess in Little Mermaid (animated) 1989 film and stage production. Ariel is the youngest daughter of King Triton and Queen Athena. Her older sisters' names are Attina, Alana, Adella, Aquata, Arista and Andrina.
Ariel marries Prince Eric and they have a daughter named Melody.

Coral Fairie Tale Theater sister of Pearl 1987 Donna McKechnie and Laraine Newman
Delores De Lago was the name of Bette Midler's famous mermaid.

Lena mermaid princess Little Mermaid (animated); 1992 
Lenore (Ann Blyth) in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid 1948
Lorelei Beach Blanket Bingo 1965
Madison (Daryl Hannah) Splash 1984  
Miranda Trewella (Glynis Johns) in Miranda 1948
Mora the Mermaid Night Tide, Dennis Hopper 1961
Ondine 2009 film (selkie)
Oona mermaid princess : Sofia the First: The Floating Palace, 2013. There's also a connection to Oona O'Neill Chaplin, wife of Charlie Chaplin. His granddaughter, the actress is also named Oona.
Pearl (Pam Dawber) Fairie Tale Theater 1987 Helen Mirren, Treat Williams also
Rusalochka 1976 Russian animated film
Syrena Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides 2011
Tris Little Mermaid (animated); 1992 sister of Lena 

Boys' Names:
Cody Thirteenth Year 1999 Disney Channel Original Movie
Finn Not a merboy or merman name far as I know, but from a character on the show, Glee. Sounds aquatic and is said to be popular.
Jamie The Secret of Roan Inish (1995) part human part Selkie

The Little Mermaid Walt Disney Art Print POSTER


Selkies transform from a seal to a human
Swan maidens transform from a swan to a human
** very basic definitions

Do you know of other mermaid movie names? I like these names because many of them are simply traditional names.

Sofia Coppola is set to direct a live action film of The Little Mermaid. I wonder if her name will be Ariel.

Planning a nursery? 

An aquatic or nautical theme is popular. You can easily make it gender neutral, and if your little one wants a room to transition into a big girl or big boy room parts of this theme can grow with your child. Whether your home has a coastal decor or you want your child's room to reflect the wonder and calmness of the sea, sand and sunshine there are so many ways to do it.

Themes may include:
Fishing, undersea diving, mermaids and other mythological sea creatures, famous
literature such as Peter Pan, Moby Dick, Atlantis, specific animals dolphins, whales, swans or even frogs and turtles. Kiss a frog?
  Selection of gorgeous
Turquoise, Capiz Shell, Aqua Blue Chandeliers

Includes a genuine Currey and Company lighting
Three Light Chandelier, Cupertino/Turquoise Finish

Depending on your expertise some people make desks and other furniture out of salvaged materials or hand-me-down items. Old driftwood, old boat parts can become part of a book case or desk. Make sure it's built correctly and the right types of paint and finish are used for a child's room. Love the idea of reusing and recycling heirloom items.

I got a decal for my niece for Christmas; great selection. I prefer these to permanent built-ins or wallpaper. These can be placed elsewhere and removed easily without damaging the wall or paint underneath. 

Mermaid Wall Decals; Customize

A friend got a bunch of round circles of different sizes just plain "polka dots." They placed them randomly from the wall to the ceiling by the crib so it looked like bubbles. That was so cute!

There was a chandelier in the center of the room and a mobile over the crib that looked like a chandelier.

Depending on your child's age, interest and abilities, consider adding the following:

Port hole
Treasure chest
Rope ladder
Shells, shell shapes, scallop, nautilus
Fish shapes
Dive masks
Fishing poles

Chandeliers can resemble the ship in the sky from Peter Pan or Pirates of the Caribbean. They can be fantastical bubbles in a little girl's room.

The colors blue, green, teal, gold, sand/khaki are basic and traditional but they can be starting points. 

In Douglas Fairbanks' 1924 silent film, The Thief of Bagdad, they used multiple large chandeliers that mimicked jellyfish for their undersea motif. Set designer William Cameron Menzies created an elaborate fairytale world by taking the entire environment, walls, windows, lighting. Have something sheer beside something that's opaque. 

A bed might fold up out of sight like a Murphy bed. Maybe it's a canopy bed that looks like a scallop shell?

Bedding, sheets, quilts and fabric to make quilts and blankets yourself is available. My sisters are knitters and make beautiful sweaters, socks and blankets for the new babies in our family. We have another one on the way! 

Remember chalkboard paint comes in different colors now. We saw one family had an artist create caricatures of their daughters as mermaids on the wall of the room. You might want to do this on canvas in a frame, otherwise it will have to be painted over eventually. But the girls were so excited when they walked in and saw it on the wall of their new room!

Frigate Hanging Lamps
Frigate Hanging Lamps 
See more Frigate Lamp-In-A-Box Lamp
*Note, you can change border color from black to a lighter color
Try Zazzle

Hey Stella: Stella Dallas, I Found Stella Parish, How Stella Got Her Groove Back; Barbara Stanwyck, Kay Francis, Angela Bassett, A Streetcar Named Desire; Is your name in a movie?

Have a mermaid movie party

If no film title is given above, the name and movie title are the same

Saturday, March 22, 2014

Have a Mermaid Movie Party Ann Blyth Glynis Johns

Ladies from the Mermaid Pool of 1948

Have a mermaid film festival in your living room. Just add water. This also ties in
Mr Peabody and the Mermaid
William Powell shopping

He only wants bikini tops,
She doesn't wear the bottoms.
with the man in the bath themed festival. Seems more than a few mermaid movies show the ladies in a bathtub...

Have discussion afterward, comparing the storylines, how makeup, ideas of relationships between men and women, even how technology has changed over the years. How about the idea of the ideal/fantasy woman, often seen in a mermaid film.

There are mermaid movies in many genres: horror, animated, pirate, comedy; for kids, teen and adults.
If you've got friends who are film buffs, there are rare films, those from every time period. 

What to serve: Sushi, fish tacos, anchovy pizza, oysters. Or maybe you'd prefer to stay away from fish altogether in deference to the mermaids, fish and sea creatures in the films? Use fish-shaped cookie cutters to shape the sandwiches, etc. Serve goldfish cheese and pretzel crackers.

Go for the gold with Berry Blue jello, include delicious fruits suspended within.
Decorate with seashells, starfish. 

Suggest people wear watery colors like blue and green. Make your guests want to pull out those camera phones. :-)

We've got friends who like to go all out for parties and those who don't.

Here are a couple movies, light comedies with familiar stars. Both movies can be streamed. Miranda and Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid.  

The films are relatively short, at about 89 minutes each. 

Glynis Johns 24x36 B&W Poster Print
It's the mermaid in the British film, Miranda (Glynis Johns) who takes the most control of the situation. 

She can speak from the start. She holds her man (Griffith Jones as the married Dr. Paul Martin) captive until he agrees to show her the city. 

It was filmed in Cornwall, England.

The mermaid's tail by Dunlop Rubber Company, a company that also does/did make tires, garden hoses and Wellies (rain boots). In 1948 Dunlop invented the self-sealing tire, which reduced the risk from blowouts. 

Googie Withers plays the doctor's wife and Margaret Rutherford is the nurse who looks after Miranda. 

According to The Telegraph, Withers, who was born in Karachi, was given the nickname Googie by her Indian nanny. "A Hindi word, meant (according to who was telling) dove or crazy." Googie, as an aside, is the pet name George Burns had for his wife, Gracie Allen.

Glynis Johns made films from the 1930s-90s, One of her best-known film roles was that of Winifred Banks, the children's mother, a suffragette, in 1964's Mary Poppins. David Tomlinson, who is Charles in Miranda will go on to play her husband, George Banks, Mary Poppins' employer and father of the children. 

So the movie Miranda offers an unexpected pre-Poppins present.

Dr. Martin brings Miranda home under the guise of her being a patient who cannot
Bette Midler
Delores De Lago
Mermaid Doll
walk. I had to smile at the mermaid's being transported in a wheelchair. It reminded me slightly of Bette Midler's Delores DeLago mermaid character as memorialized in the concert film Divine Madness. She's also available in doll form. 

You may remember the controversy that was stirred up recently when Lady Gaga performed in a show as a mermaid who traveled on stage in a wheelchair. Was it a rip-off of Midler's idea? Some in the press labeled the brouhaha MermaidGate.

Miranda never sprouts legs. She is consistently either carried by Dr. Martin or a series of other men, including Nigel (John McCallum, Ms. Withers' real life husband) who is painting a portrait of Miranda.

She captivates the men so much that they sometimes argue over who gets to carry her off. In the final scene, Miranda is shown on a rock, holding a little merboy on her lap. This movie has a sequel, Mad About Men in 1954.

Also married is Arthur Peabody (William Powell) in Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid.
William Powell Ann Blyth
8x10" Photo
Peabody names her Lenore (Ann Blyth). She is young and naive. Aside from some soft singing, she never learns to speak. She is sweet and naive without being sappy.

His character is just turning fifty, Blyth was 19 when she made the movie. 

At the age of 17, she had already gained notoriety and an Oscar nomination for playing Veda Pierce Forrester in Mildred Pierce with Joan Crawford, who won an Oscar for her role in the film.

This movie is one of the last dozen that Powell will make in his long career of making movies 1922-1955. His final movie will be Mr. Roberts in 1955. Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid is one of the first dozen films that Ms. Blyth made.

Blyth's makeup including the elaborate fish tail was overseen by makeup artist Bud Westmore, who was the uncle of Michael Westmore.

Michael Westmore can now be seen as a mentor on the Syfy channel competition show, Face Off. The program is hosted by his daughter, McKenzie.

They are members of the House of Westmore, the famous family in film make up. The Westmores have a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

I've seen this photo in many different places and cannot track down its original source.
Ann Blyth with Glenn Strange who was playing Frankenstein's Monster in another Universal film, Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein.
Also in that movie were Lon Chaney, Jr. as Lawrence Talbot/The Wolf Man and Béla Lugosi as Count Dracula.  The story I've read most often is that Blyth and Mr. Strange met when they were both made up for their day's work and thought the photo would be funny.

Mr. Peabody and the Mermaid is also different from Miranda in its middle-age-crisis plot. "What's a few grey hairs?" he says. The character, we'd expect, speaks for many men when he holds the silent mermaid close and speaks of how he wishes for some peace and quiet. Lenore never speaks, she never walks.

Fishing trip in Libeled Lady William Powell, Myrna Loy, Walter Connolly 8x10"
The 1936 film also starred Jean Harlow and Spencer Tracy

His wife is played with a bit of shrewness at the start. But that's evened out in the end when her anxiety about her husband is relieved. Powell was in his mid-50s when he made this film and clearly there was attention to how the relationship with the mermaid was portrayed. 

In real life, as with fellow actors such as Cary Grant and Bing Crosby, Mr. Powell often dated younger women and his wife was considerably younger. Bing Crosby was 30 years older than his last wife Kathryn. Grant, too was decades older than his wives.

This film has one of the best leg biting scenes since Rosalind Russell bit Paulette Goddard's leg in The Women, 1939. As much of this story is told in flashback, and told to a psychiatrist at that, we're left with the idea that it may be something of a fairy tale. Was it just a really rough entry into Mr. Peabody's fiftieth year? Was there really a mermaid down there in that pond?

Irene Hervey is Mrs. Polly Peabody. She was the real-life wife of actor Allan Jones, and mom of singer Jack Jones. We'll assume that she heard the Theme of The Love Boat sung once or twice. For a time, Jones and Robert Young ran The Bel-Air Stables. In a 1939 short MGM film, Hollywood Hobbies, the Bel Air Stables get a visit and Irene Hervey is featured.

If this movie is at all connected to the characters of Mr. Peabody & Sherman, who first appeared on the animated TV series, Rocky and His Friends and The Bullwinkle Show in the 1950s, I can't say. I know that William Powell liked dogs. But it would be a pretty silly stretch.... 

1948 was a very big year for mermaids. Also from this year was Tarzan and the Mermaids starring Johnny Weissmuller. There were no actual mermaids in this movie.

It was recently announced that Sofia Coppola plans to direct a live-action version of The Little Mermaid for Universal Pictures and Working Title Films.

The 1948 Summer Olympics, were held in London, England. After a 12-year hiatus because of World War II, these were the first Summer Olympics since the 1936 Games in Berlin. The United States won more Gold Medals overall in swimming events that year with eight. No mermaids competed in the Olympics.

The Art of Theatrical Makeup for Stage and Screen
I read that Mr. Westmore was writing an autobiography

Related Pages of Interest:

William Powell and Carole Lombard married 1931-1933; their sapphires, My Man Godfrey. Pre-Jean Harlow and Clark Gable
Men in the Bath Film Festival Movies

Have a Mary Poppins Interactive Movie Party

I'm going to talk a little more about mermaids and Mermaid Movies in another post.  Until then, Bette Midler, as Delores De Lago, can sing Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy!

Pages being revised/updated:
Mermaid Art Shirts:  Women Swimmers  Customize, Birthday Party Favor Ideas 
Centaur Costumes, Half Man Half Horse, DIY Ideas, Tutorials, Cosplay
Princess Mermaid Costumes, Half Girl/Woman Half Fish

Thursday, March 20, 2014

When Mae West met Mr Ed Horsing Around

Of course Mae West, of course

Mae West and Mr. Ed
Musclemen give him a bubble bath
March 22, 1964, 50 years ago, CBS airs a Mr. Ed episode guest starring actress Mae West. The show ran 1961-1966. She was on the fourth season. In 1964 she also appeared on The Red Skelton Show.

Mr. Ed, a talking horse, overhears Mae West commissioning Wilbur (his owner, who's an architect) to create deluxe stables for her horses. Ed leaves and moves in with Mae. 

He doesn't like the beauty and vitamin regimen that her horses go through. The moral is that he finds out the downside of getting what he thinks that he wants. Ed would approve of our watching in the Year of the Horse.

Others who guest starred on the show included Clint Eastwood, George Burns, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Leo Durocher and Jon Provost. Most of the time, the celebrities played themselves, and this was what West wanted to do. 

A producer on the Mr. Ed show, Arthur Lubin, was a long-time friend of Mae West's. He'd attended some of her "beach-house seances. ... He hired movers to bring in her own furniture for scenes in her television-land boudoir and allowed her to rework her part." West was over 70 at the time.
-- Mae West: An Icon in Black and White

By choice she didn't do much television. She was happy to be on a program that appealed to children and teens. She'd get exposure to this age group in a whole new generation. If they were old enough they'd get the sensuality in her humor. It could probably pass for just silliness to the children.

Mae West made the bulk of her movies in the 1930s and 40s. A new young actor named Cary Grant got some notoriety by appearing in a couple of her films, She Done Him Wrong and I'm No Angel. 

Miss West was already a star from the Broadway stage and her film work would only solidify her status as an icon.

Her secret to youth, femininity and beauty?
"Dress like a woman, look like a woman, act like a woman, feel like a woman."
Some have attributed film censorship directly to Mae West and her movies. In 1934 the Motion Picture Production Code often simply called the Hays Code was adopted.

Some quotes attributed to Miss West:

"I believe in censorship. I made a fortune out of it."

"Censorship made me."

In the early 1960s her health was not the best. She'd had a mild heart attack and her eyesight was failing. "She refused to wear glasses and preferred to hold her escort's arm to get around. Mae didn't like the public to know that she was not in great shape."
-- The Legendary Mae West by Tabatha Yeatts

December 2013 it was confirmed that Bette Midler is to star as Mae West in a biopic for HBO called Goodness had nothing to do with it.

Mr. Ed was one of the fantasy/supernatural programs or programs with highly off-beat characters on the air during the 1960s -- shows that did not involve alternate universes, space or science fiction. Others would include Bewitched, I Dream of Jeannie, The Ghost & Mrs. Muir, The Flying Nun and to a lesser extent, The Addams Family and The Munsters.

A horse is a horse, of course, of course
And no one can talk to a horse, of course
That is, of course unless the horse is the famous Mr. Ed ....

Jan Brady and the Horse with no name welcome The Year of The Horse

Books of Interest:

Mae West: An Icon in Black and White by Jill Watts

The Legendary Mae West by Tabatha Yeatts


Monday, March 17, 2014

Raymond Burr Rear Window to the Senate floor

Raymond Burr for the People

From His Kind of Woman
"First of all, let me say that I find myself perfectly sober, reasonably sane and not at all surprised...."
Please Murder Me 1956 Raymond Burr as Attorney Craig Carlson dictates into a tape recorder. With Angela Lansbury, John Dehner, Denver Pyle

It was the late 1940s. We were celebrating the end of WW2 and starting up the baby boom. Canadian actor Raymond Burr worked on radio and in the movies. Some fans may be surprised to know that he was a successful character actor who played a number of heavies or bad guys. In 1946 he made his first films, San Quentin and Without Reservations.

On radio he was sometimes the authoritative good guy as a cop, private eye. He had an extended run in the show, Ft. Laramie. There were recurring roles as the Chief of Detectives on Dragnet. (He'd again have this job in Ironside.) His radio career lasted from the late 1940s through the late 1950s. 

In 1951 he appeared on a rado episode of Dr. Kildare, playing Dr. Conlon, a fake doctor who advertises a machine that will cure what ails you. Patients suffer the consequences of visiting him instead of a licensed doctor. Then Dr. Conlon suffers the wrath of Drs. Kildare and Gillespie, Lew Ayres and Lionel Barrymore. 

In the movies, Raymond Burr is remembered for playing Steve Martin -- but not THAT Steve Martin. (Jimmy Stewart played a different Steve Martin in 1953's Thunder Bay. This time Steve is an ex-Navy engineer.)

"My name is Steve Martin. I am a foreign correspondent for United World News. I was headed for an assignment in Cairo, when I stopped off in Tokyo for a social call. But it turned out to be a visit to the living HELL of another world."
-- from Godzila, King of the Monsters

He worked with Alfred Hitchcock, Elizabeth Taylor, the Marx Brothers, Barbara Stanwyck, Lon Chaney, Lucille Ball, Vincent Price, John Candy, Errol Flynn and of course, Godzilla to name just a few.

There was a rumor that he'd had a romance with Natalie Wood. 

In one of his most
With Natalie Wood
A Cry in the Dark
famous films where he worked with James Stewart and was seen grabbing Grace Kelly. 

Burr worked in radio, film and television. Not only did he appear in some of the great TV anthology series such as Playhouse 90, but he also appeared as a guest on comedy shows like Jack Benny and Red Skelton.

"There's a file I keep in my office. Strange offenses committed by  seemingly normal people. All of them searching for an answer." RB
Barbara Stanyck: "I'd like to see that file."
RB: "I'd be very happy to show it to you."
Burr as Police Inspector Anthony (Tony) Pope 
to Kathy Ferguson Doyle (Stanwyck) in Crime of Passion 1957
Fay Wray and Sterling Hayden also starred.

On TV, he even worked opposite himself: good guy vs bad guy personas in an episode of Perry Mason, The Case of the Dead Ringer.

Perry Mason with baddie, Seaman Grimes
The Case of The Dead Ringer
Raymond Burr faces himself
A small role, but a really bad guy in a George Raft, Virginia Mayo film, Red Light got him attention in 1949. In Love Happy, the Marx Brothers' final film also 1949, Burr is Alphonse Zoto. He's a bad guy but a humorous one, a henchman for Ilona Massey.

Major film roles were as D.A. R Frank Marlow in A Place in the Sun. Lars Thorwald in Rear Window, Steve Martin in Godzilla King of the Monsters and A Cry in the Night with Natalie Wood. These films got him status and recognition. DA Marlow in A Place in the Sun is said to be a precursor to Perry Mason. 

When asked why Perry Mason never lost a case, Raymond Burr replied that Mason had actually lost many cases, "But we only show the cases he won."
When Television Was Young: The Inside Story with Memories by Legends ...Ed McMahon

While Raymond Burr was first making pictures, the character of Perry Mason was on the big screen solving cases.

From 1934-1937, the movie version of the Perry Mason character was played by Ricardo Cortez, Donald Woods and most often by Warren William.  Perry Mason was on radio
1943-1955. A 15 minute show starred Bartlett Robinson, Santos Ortega, Donald Briggs and John Larkin as the title character. Some of the actors who'd played the part in film or on radio would guest on the television show.

Godzilla is coming for us

The Perry Mason television series ran 1957-1966. He began making special tv movies with the character in 1985. A final film in 1993 aired after Burr's death from kidney cancer.

Many famous and soon to be famous guest stars appeared both on Perry Mason and Ironside, including Bette Davis, Robert Redford, Myrna Loy, Angie Dickinson, James Coburn, Lee Meriwether, Paul Winfield, George Takei and Leonard Nimoy.

Both Jodie Foster and Rod Serling from The Twilight Zone appeared on
1972 Ironside called Bubble Bubble Toil and Murder.

Cast of Ironside

While he is most famous for playing Perry Mason, a role he would later play again in TV movies, he played the character of Chief of Detectives Robert Ironside for nearly ten years. Burr, known for his expressive blue eyes, had said that his eyes were damaged making the show, seated for long periods of time looking up into the hot, bright studio lights.

In 2013 when Blair Underwood reprised the role of Ironside, the show was canceled almost immediately, within the same month. 

There was a controversy from the disabled community. Why should an able bodied actor play the role? 

One point is that there are not as many roles for disabled actors to choose from as there are able bodied actors. Another is that an actor who lives what the character lives may be able to bring another dimension of authenticity to the role and consequently to the film or show as a whole. 

This sort of thing was rarely spoken of in the 1970s. There were other complaints about the new show in general.

Burr and his characterization of Perry Mason are very ingrained in American culture. In July 2009 then-noimnee for the U.S. Supreme Court, Justice Sonia Sotomayor was going through her confirmation hearing before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Minnesota Senator Al Franken included a question about Perry Mason.  

Fans sometimes forget about how varied, interesting and full his career was.

As Thorwald seen through a telephoto lens
in Rear Window
"What do you want from me? ... What is it you want, a lot of money? I don't have any money. Say something. Say something! Tell me what you want. "
-- Raymond Burr as Lars Thorwald to "Jeff" Jefferies (James Stewart) in Alfred Hitchcock's Rear Window 1954

Quite a bit of Burr's biographical data is convoluted. Through the years chunks of his background were either created or exaggerated by publicists and as some of his friends said, Mr. Burr mythologized himself in print and interviews. 

This may have become somewhat unintentional as time went on and we'd assume that many celebrities' bios have been smoothed or punched up by publicists. 

Serpent of the Nile
Burr is Marc Antony
Rhonda Fleming is Cleopatra

"A woman like you ought to travel, wear pretty clothes, have some fun. Life runs away too fast if you don't hold onto it with both hands. .... You're confusing gratitude with love -- a woman wants to be loved."
-- Burr as Barney Chavez to Mrs. Dina Van Gelder (Barbara Payton) in Bride of the Gorilla

The fact that Raymond Burr was gay had to be kept a secret from the public. This appears to be as much Mr. Burr's choice as anyone else's. In the times when he was acting, starting in the 1940s-50s, it's believed that coming out of the closet would have really hurt his career. We saw this with other actors such as Rock Hudson and George Nader. George Nader's Amazon page] Nader went on to have a later career writing science fiction and gay novels, such as Chrome. The stigma was so great, some of his books he wanted published only after his death.

As with other actors, several stories were created about Burr's being married and having children; so many stories that it's hard now to separate fact from fiction. 

The times were different, the press was different then. In the 1960s he purchased an island in Fiji, a place where he could go, be himself and get away from everything.

In Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood, there are some quotes from the actress and some history of the relationship between Burr and Wood. Their public relationship, appearing ambiguously have had an affair, served both of them well. They were good friends. This is confirmed in different sources.
-- Natasha: The Biography of Natalie Wood, Suzanne Finstad

In a 2010 interview in the magazine, The Advocate the actor Richard Chamberlain said, "It's complicated. There's still a tremendous amount of homophobia in our culture. It's regrettable. It's stupid, it's heartless and it's immoral, but there it is. 

"For an actor to be working is a kind of miracle, because most actors aren't, so it's just silly for a working actor to say, 'Oh, I don't care if anybody knows I'm gay' ...  especially if you're a leading man. Personally, I wouldn't advise a gay leading man-type actor to come out."

We can look at a list of some popular actors who have come out, Sir Ian McKellen, George Takei, Neil Patrick Harris, Rupert Everett and Richard Chamberlain, but it's up to the individual. We don't know every person's story, male and female.

Raymond Burr had a great sense of humor. Film historian Leonard Maltin once said that his sense of humor may have been one thing that set him apart from other character actors. His guest appearance on programs such as the Jack Benny show are must-sees for any Burr fan.

His companion of over thirty years was Robert Benevides. Mr. Benevides continues to run the Raymond Burr Vineyards which is in Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma County, California. They ship wines and you may join the Ray Burr Wine Club. If you visit the Winery you get a treat of seeing the Emmys that he won for Perry Mason. Barbara Hale, who played Mason's right-hand woman Della Street, won an Emmy in 1959.

Raymond Burr's last feature film was with John Candy, Delirious 1991. Tom Mankiewicz was director. 

Burr died before he finished filming a television movie in 1993. Sadly John Candy died in 1994 at age 43. John Candy's last films were Cool Runnings and Wagons East. His very last film, Canadian Bacon was released posthumously.

If you live near Ventura, California you may find a walking tour dedicated to places related to the author and lawyer, creator of Perry Mason, Erle Stanley Gardner. I haven't seen it advertised for a couple of years. It may still exist.

The Erle Stanley Gardner Building in Ventura, now a Historic Landmark was put up for sale in 2013. I haven't been able to find the current status of the building. There is an Erle Stanley Gardner virtual tour

There is an Erle Stanley Gardner Museum in Temecula, California. Gardner had other interesting books, radio and television shows. Check out The Court of Last Resort. He was a mystery guest on What's My Line.

Raymond Burr has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his work on Television. The address is 6656 Hollywood Blvd.  He also has a star on Canada's Walk of Fame (as do John Candy, Dan Aykroyd and SCTV, started by the Toronto version of The Second City franchise).

In 1986 Burr worked on both Perry Mason Returns and Godzilla 1985: The Legend Is Reborn 

In May 2014 a new Godzilla movie is set go come out. Stars are Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Ken Watanabe, Elizabeth Olsen and Bryan Cranston.

At the end of the 1986 movie, Godzilla 1985: The Legend Is Reborn, Burr's character, Steve Martin, gave a speech:

"Nature has a way sometimes of reminding man of just how small he is. She occasionally throws up the unbearable offsprings of our pride and carelessness to remind us of how puny we really are in the face of a tornado, an earthquake or a Godzilla. 

"The reckless ambitions of man are often dwarfed by their dangerous consequences. For now Godzilla that strangely innocent and tragic monster  has gone to earth whether he returns or not or is never again seen by human eyes the things he has taught us remain."

Godzilla is one of the few fictional characters with a star on the Hollywood walk of fame 6925 Hollywood Blvd.

The Perry Mason Theme... with lyrics by The Blues Brothers (Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi) Elwood Blues supplies the lyrics. "You see, we're recidivists..." They're looking for "good, honest legal help."


Some books of interest:
(Don't forget to visit your local library or used bookstore. Some bookstores will trade books and give you credit toward other books. You might also do this with videos and music.)

Hiding in Plain Sight: The Secret Life of Raymond Burr This book has its positives and negatives, but it appears to be the main Burr biography on the market.

Lawyers in Your Living Room!: Law on Television Perry Mason is included

Perry Mason DVD set (50th Anniversary Edition) Includes great extras like his audition to play Paul Drake. At first they thought Burr might have too bad a reputation to play Perry Mason. [Mr. Burr was did not get the role of Paul Drake. But he was just right for the lead.]

Screened Out: Playing Gay in Hollywood from Edison to Stonewall

No Pity: People with Disabilities Forging a New Civil Rights Movement Ironside is included

On the Air:The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio This great book is now available in digital format. If you create or are just a fan of podcasts, it's a real gem.

Made in America You can find The Perry Mason Theme on several of The Blues Brothers' vinyl albums, audio CDs. I believe it's in MP3.It is definitely available in MP3 version by other artists in different versions. If you ever get the opportunity to hear it live it's really worth it. Check your local symphony's schedule. They may be doing a theme devoted to film and television, noir or to crime drama, etc.

More About Perry Mason, Related pages of interest:

Perry Mason (1957 - 1966) An article by Caftan Woman written for the Sleuthathon Blogathon

Warren William as Perry Mason An article from Outspoken & Freckled written for the Sleuthathon Blogathon

Black cats bring stars good luck

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Sunday, March 16, 2014

Film characters with prosthetic hands

The last in this series on hands in the cinema. Those with prosthetic hands, from the human-like to animated, to out of this world.

Included are some books that explore the sociology and psychology of cinema and disability, stereotypes in general. Where do they come from and why do they thrive in certain genres over others why do they continue at all?

The Best Years of Our Lives
Harold Russell
The important thing about this first set of movie characters is how close they actually are to people we might know or meet. 

What percentage of the time do we see a character with a missing limb portrayed as a pirate, a villain or a victim? The psychology may be revenge for what's happened to them.

Harold Russell as Homer Parrish in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), directed by William Wyler also starring Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Dana Andrews, Teresa Wright and Virginia Mayo. 

The film won seven Academy Awards including Best Picture and Best Supporting Actor for Russell who was not an actor. Here was a situation of their hiring a person who had lived what the character had lived. Russell was a WWII veteran, a double amputee who had the disability the character had. 

There is a great scene in a diner where a patron says what he thinks about the war while Russell is sitting there having given so much for his country.  

Whatever your political beliefs, it's a good film to see particularly now when we once again have disabled veterans returning home.

Not many people know that the talented and suave actor with the mellifluous speaking voice Herbert Marshall had a prosthetic leg. The fact was kept quiet from the public. He lost his right leg while serving in WW1 due to a sniper's bullet.

In May 2014 the final Debbie Reynolds Auction included a prosthetic index finger and thumb which Harold Lloyd used after having had an accident with explosives in one of his stunts. The piece, circa 1930, had blackened over time. Bidding started at $1200 and went to $3000. A pair of later personally owned glasses was also included in the lot.


The Steel Claw 1961 George Montgomery is a wartime drama set in the Philippines during World War II. It is an action-adventure film about a disabled ex-Marine on a mission to rescue an officer in the early days of the Japanese invasion. **It has no relation to the comic book series Steel Claw. 

Forest Whitaker plays Cyrus Cole in Smoke (1995).
Cyrus lost his left arm in a car accident. He wears a prosthesis with a hook.  

The film follows the lives of multiple characters, all of whom are connected by their patronage of a small Brooklyn tobacco shop managed by Auggie (Harvey Keitel).  

Cole comes to terms with a long lost son and other situations in his life during the course of the movie.

Cary Grant fights with Scobie on the Roof
in Charade
Charade 1963, stars Audrey Hepburn and Cary Grant. One of the bad guys, Herman Scobie played by George Kennedy has a hook hand as a leftover from WW2. 

There is a memorable rooftop struggle between Grant and Kennedy, who uses his hook as a weapon. 

Charade is a very good movie that
includes this character with a stereotypical feature.

The Claw, the villain from Dick Tracy's Dilemma (1947). He's described as, "Steve The Claw Michel, A quiet, compulsive killer." He's played by Jack Lambert. To further create the stereotype of the villain, it's said that, "He has an extreme fondness for cats." Like James Bond's Ernst Stavro Blofeld and images we've seen of Marlon Brando as The Godfather with cats on their laps.Ralph Byrd played Dick Tracy in the movie.

TCM, Turner Classic Movies looked at "A history of disability in film." This one is particularly important as it looks at how the disabled, how our veterans and minorities have been portrayed in film and treated in society. Irving Thalberg said that the movies would be the best record of how we once lived.

Hook, Captain Hook Peter Pan. Dustin Hoffman played the character in Hook (1991). Captain Hook and Peter Pan have been long-term rivals. 

Captain Hook, the character we think of today is not quite the same who was the original antagonist of J. M. Barrie's early 1900s play, Peter Pan or the Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up. 

Occasionally, I've seen images of Captain Hook merged with Long John Silver from Treasure Island (a character who has a wooden leg.)

In the 1959 B-movie Alligator People, Lon Chaney Jr.'s character has a hook after losing his hand to an alligator. None of these movies show disabled persons in a positive or realistic light. His father, Lon Chaney Sr., played several disabled characters throughout his career, perhaps most notably The Penalty in 1920 and in The Unknown with Joan Crawford (1927) he is a knife thrower pretending to be armless.

Poster for Dick Tracy's Dilemma, Ralph Byrd, Kay Christopher, 1947

Movies such as Adventures in Babysitting and I Still Know What You Did Last Summer tap into campfire stories of killers with disabilities. 

Monsters, cartoon and mythological characters

Actually more of them than we'll discuss. But here is a sampling. You'll see a common thread. A number of the characters have what film-goers have called Swiss-Army Appendages.  

This type of character probably dates back to earlier stories and legends. These characters serve as popular toys.
Joseph Wiseman James Bond Dr. No 8x10" Photo #C1147

Sanford Scolex (aka Dr. Claw) from the 1999 Inspector Gadget movie. Dr. Claw is leader of the evil M.A.D. organization.

Dr. No (Joseph Wiseman) fitted himself with metal manual prostheses after Tongs cut off his hands. Dr. No is a 1962 James Bond film starring Sean Connery. 

He is the main antagonist and a reclusive member of SPECTRE. Certain DVDs of the movie come with collectible figures of the character.

In Live and Let Die, Tee Hee Johnson (Julius Harris), The Dragon to Big Bad Kananga, has a vicious-looking pincer in lieu of a right hand. Roger Moore is James Bond.  In fact, his whole arm is mechanical — he lost it to a caiman. He threatens to cut James Bond's little finger with it during an interrogation.

The Claw (Leonard Strong) from Get Smart is a parody of Dr. No. This is only one of many parody TV and film characters I'm mentioning.

Ron Perlman as Hellboy 2004, directed by Guillermo del Toro. The Allied team discovers an infant demon with a right hand of stone came through the portal. If you get the film on DVD you'll get extra including visits to the "Right Hand of Doom" set and a two-hour documentary.

March 22, 2014 you can celebrate Hellboy Day, marking 20 years of comics' favorite paranormal detective. Have you heard of Itty Bitty Hellboy from Darkhorse Comics? Things from Another World TFAW

Ash’s wrist-mounted chainsaw in Evil Dead 2 (1987). They describe his metal hand as Steampunk. 

Robert Englund appeared on the July 23, 2014 episode of SyFy's Face Off competition show for special-effects make-up artists. Englund talked a little about playing Freddy Krueger. He said that actors love accessories. The glove was like "an extension of the badness." Englund was also on the cooking challenge show, The Last Great Baker on the same evening, where bakers had to make horror themed cakes.

Sort of similar to Edward Scissorhands and Freddy Krueger, there's Wolverine’s claws from X-Men (2000). Played by Hugh Jackman, he is so iconic that people are getting tattoos of the character and he will appear on a tattoo competition show, Ink Master on March 25, 2014. 

In March 2014, it was announced that March 3, 2017 is the projected release date for the next solo Wolverine film. The screenwriter, David James Kelly is scripting the new Wolverine film, which will once again star Hugh Jackman in the title role. 
-- movie info from SlashFilm

A poster for 1965 film Knives of the Avenger shows star, Cameron Mitchell armed with long knives held between each finger ready to hurl at the bad guy.

Wolverine Bone Claws
Skeletal Replica Diamond Select Toys

There are so many collectible
Wolverine Costumes & Toys
Try making Origami Claws?
Innerspace (1987)  Mr. Igoe’s has a number of prosthetics for his hand, some of which shoot bullets.

The Hobbit, Orc Chief Azog has a metal prosthetic hand and forearm....

Gandalf: "Your grandfather Thror was killed, you remember, in the Mines of Moria by Azog the Goblin."
Thorin: "Curse his name, yes."  

Some animated movies:
With animation you can do just about anything.

John Silver’s arm in Treasure Planet (2002) His arm can be a weapon but a cooking gadget.... But then, I seem to recall that Edward Scissorhands did a little cooking with his hands, too. He sure did some
Sideshow James Bond
Julius Harris / Tee Hee
Live and Let Die

Gobber’s arm in How To Train Your Dragon (2010). It can be a cannon andan axe, but it also transforms into a a tankard for his ale.

Christopher Lloyd (Judge Doom) in Who Framed Roger Rabbit (1988). Judge Doom had a variety of tools and weapons for hands, a chainsaw if you wanted to be a killer or a lumberjack.

Gigan, a monster who you'll find in Godzilla vs. Megalon. Gigan has razor sharp hooked blades, the "tips of the hooks can release an explosive charge on contact with an enemy."

A few others that people mentioned to me that kind of do and kind of don't belong....

The Mask of Fu Manchu (1932) pre-code film with Boris Karloff as Fu Manchu and Myrna Loy as his daughter. Karloff displays long trademark fingernails, very villainous. Loy's character does as well on her pinkies, though hers are of the jewelry type. 

While this is a cult favorite movie, having Karloff and Loy playing Asian characters is not as acceptable by today's standards. We still have many able
Myrna Loy in Mask of Fu Manchu
bodies actors playing disabled characters.

Thai brass dancer's fingernails are one thing, but now with long knuckle rings in fashion, Myrna would have no problem finding something to suit her fancy.
10Pcs 3 Sizes Gothic Punk Black Crystal False Nail Claw Talon Finger Ring Cosplay Fashion Jewelry.

In The Piano (1993) we see Holly Hunter's character lose a finger. She receives a silver replacement finger fashioned by Harvey Keitel's character. Losing limbs isn't uncommon in movies (horror movies especially) but this is the only one I've heard of where something like this happened. The film also stars Sam Neill and Anna Paquin.

Uma Thurman's unnaturally large thumbs in Even Cowgirls Get the Blues 1993. 

Speaking of disability... With more and more baby boomers getting older and our own hearing getting worse (and despite regulations), we don't find enough closed captioning on television or on the streamed content. Sooner than later that's going to start to hurt vendors in the pocketbook. 

Books about History, Stereotypes in Film, Television, Media
Stereotypes, perception, imagery based on Disability, Gender, Racial, Ethnic, more...

Many are available now as eBooks for Kindle, Nook, Sony...

The Bigger Little Book of Hollywood Cliches: a Greatly Expanded and Much Improved Compendium of Movie Cliches, Stereotypes, Obligatory Scenes, ... Shopworn Conventions and Outdated Archetypes Lazy filmmaking? Roger Ebert

Hollywood Goes Oriental: CaucAsian Performance in American Film (Contemporary Approaches to Film and Media Series) Think of Asian stereotypes in the movies

Images That Injure: Pictorial Stereotypes in the Media

Film and Stereotype: A Challenge for Cinema and Theory (Film and Culture Series)

Cinema Of Isolation: A History of Physical Disability in the Movies

Freakery: Cultural Spectacles of the Extraordinary Body

Disability and the Media (Disability Library)

Picturing Disability: Beggar, Freak, Citizen, and Other Photographic Rhetoric (Critical Perspectives on Disability) is available digitally for Kindle and in paper. It talks about Lon Chaney Sr. and Jr. and much more.

The Science of James Bond: From Bullets to Bowler Hats to Boat Jumps, the Real Technology Behind 007's Fabulous Films  

Related pages of interest:

Disabled Actors should play disabled characters

Hands in film fashion, surrealist influences, The Women, The Man Who Came to Dinner, Elsa Schiaparelli

Movies with rogue, disembodied hands

Movies with transplanted, possessed hands

Buying, Selling, Auctioning Academy Awards : Harold Russell sells Oscar to pay for his wife's medical needs

Have a Charade movie watching party